Biotechnology

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence”.                                                         –Rabindranath Tagore

The PG Department of Biotechnology strived throughout the year to motivate students and maintain a conducive environment to empower their understanding and critical thinking ability through various challenging activities. 

Department Activities

Workshops Conducted:

  • Workshop for the module “DNA Analysis in Laboratory and Role of Computers in DNA analysis” at the UGC sponsored Diploma Course on Conservation and Preservation of material culture, organized by the Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai (18th July and 1st August 2018)

  • Training of Trainers’ workshop on Foldscopein association with The YSS Lab and Dr. Praveen Rahi's Lab at the National Center for Microbial Resources, Pune, India conducted on 1st September 2018

  • Faculty workshop on Integrating Applied Bioinformatics in Undergraduate Life Science Education conducted by St. Xavier’s College in collaboration with Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education, TIFR partly sponsored by DBT-STAR scheme held form 27th -29th September 2018.

  • 3 days Hands-on Workshop on Animal Tissue Culture Techniques for UG Life Sciences Students in collaboration with KC College Under the DBT Star College Scheme held from 29th January to 31st January 2019

  • University level student Workshop on “Essentials of Academic Writing” in Collaboration with Cactus Communications, Mumbai for PG-I- Biosciences students held on 6th February 2019

Seminars Organized:

  • Faculty seminar on “Inculcating a culture of Pedagogic Research Informed Teaching Practice” in collaboration with IQAC, St. Xavier’s College on 20th February 2019

  • Seminar on ‘Career opportunities in scholarly publication industry’ for PG Biosciences students conducted by Mr.Nikhil Thangiah, Manager, Crimson Interactive Services (alumnus-2012-14) on 20th October 2018.

  • An Interactive session on ‘Microbial Genomics: A Bioinformatics Perspective’ with Dr. Ashwin Sai Narain Seshasayee, NCBS-TIFR, Bangalore on 28th September 2018.

Industrial Visit:

  • An industrial visit to Pune – Mahabaleshwar was organized by the PG Dept. of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai for the students of M. Sc. part I and M. Sc. part II from 22nd to 24th November 2018. The students were accompanied by two faculty members (Ms. Norine D’souza and Dr. Ira Vashisht). The following institutes were included in the visit: 

    1. National Chemical Laboratory, Pune

    2. Katraj Dairy, Pune

    3. Mapro foods, Mahabaleshwar

    4. Kisanveer Sugar Industry, Wai

Palindrome Magazine:

Palindrome Magazine is an annual publication by the Post Graduate Department of Biotechnology. The 8th issue of the magazine, published in February 2019, revolved around the concept of empowering change in the society while bridging the gaps in communication. It is an effort made by students of the Biotechnology department to put forth their own views and shed light on the yin and yang of progress. Palindrome 2018 highlighted the current trend in biotechnology and allied industries along with a few insights in the unexplored subjects in the offbeat section. 

Research Activities of the Staff:

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza and Dr. Shiney Peter presented a paper titled “Amalgamation of computational tools with Bioscience teaching: Adaptive blended learning approach” at the “International Conference on Present-day Biology: A Bastion for Social and Sustainable Development” on January 4th-5th 2019.

Poster Presentation:

    1.  “Sequestration of synthetic dyes in water using biosorbent – A Step towards Sustainable Development” at the “International Conference on Present -day Biology: A Bastion for Social and Sustainable Development” on January 4th-5th 2019.

Berness Falcao, Pragnesh Parmar, Akhila M. Nair, Lizelle Fernandes, Sarah Barretto, Shavin Fernandes, Clarice Bhattacharya, Stinita D'souza and Norine D’Souza*

    1.  “Effect of nutritional stress on the production of polyhydroxybutyrate” at the International Conference on Present -day Biology: A Bastion for Social and Sustainable Development on January 4th-5th 2019.

Haifa Parkar, Subhasini Singh, Vishakha Sakhareriya, Mystica Jacob, Rutuja Chalke, Vedanshi Dharnidharka, Aswini Anbazhagan,and Norine D’Souza*

    1.  ‘Study of degradability of commercially available bioplastic’ at "International Conference on Material and Environmental Science" held on 7th and 8th December at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. 

Mystica Jacob, Subhasini Singh, Vishakha Sakhareriya, Haifa Parkar, Rutuja Chalke, Vedanshi Dharnidharka, Aswini Anbazhagan,and Norine D’Souza*

    1.  ‘Biosorbent for sequestration of synthetic dyes’ at "International Conference on Material and Environmental Science" held on 7th and 8th December at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. 

Akhila M. Nair, Lizelle Fernandes, Berness Falcao, Sarah Barretto,Shavin Fernandes, Pragnesh Parmar , Clarice Bhattacharya, Stinita D'souza and Norine D’Souza*

    1. Analyzing effect of point mutations in electrostatic loop and its impact on amylotrophic lateral sclerosis using insilico tools’ at 31st Research Scholars Meet, organized by Indian Chemical Society in association with School of Chemical Sciences, UM-DAE CEBS, Mumbai, held from 8-9th February 2019.

Haifa Parkar, Rutuja Yelmar, Rutuja Chalke and Norine D’Souza*

  •  ‘Utilization of Oil-Based Waste for Biosurfactant Production’
    at "International Conference on Material and Environmental Science" held on 7th and 8th December at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. 

Conceetha Sequeira, Sharline Johnson, Tejas Suryawanshi, Gunjan Dutt, Berin Babu, Pency Martina, Rutuja Yelmar, Tarana Anand and Dr. Shiney Peter*

  • ‘Valorization of vegetable waste for development of alternative bacteriological media’ at the“International Conference: Present Day Biology: A Bastion for Social and Sustainable Development”, held at St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat on January 04 - 05, 2019. 

Ashika Singh, Shalini Roy Chowdhury, Ruqayya Manasawala, Mayuri Goriwale, Shiza Sarguroh, Bhumika Waghela, Supriya Garle& Ira Vashisht*



Conference Chairperson and Judge:

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn chaired a session on Translational Research in Cancer and attended the conference on “Precision Medicine is closer than you think” held at ACTREC, Navi Mumbai in January 2019.

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn was appointed as a member of the scientific board for the international science conference on “From Health to Well Being: An Interdisciplinary Approach from Fundamental Sciences to Translational Medicine” held inJanuary 2019 and judged oral presentation competition at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

     

Student Research Projects:

In the third semester, students completed group projects (in the department) on various aspects of biotechnology guided by the faculty. Listed below are a few project topics:

Under the guidance of Ms. Norine D’Souza

    • Biosorbents for sequestration of synthetic dyes and metals- An ecofriendly   approach 

    • Effect of nutritional stress on production of Polyhydroxybutyrate

    • In silico Projects:

  • α-Synucleinmisfolding in Parkinson's Disease: Protein Assessment and Evolution

  • Analysis of Protein Misfolding Diseases- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Huntington's Disease

  • Laminin and Muscular Dystrophy - busting some myths

  • Bacteriophage as Treatment Against Antibiotic Resistant Infections

  • Bioinformatic Analysis of proteins involved in age Related disorders

  • Study of Gene & Proteins - Causing Huntington’s Disease & Hunting for Treatment Options

  • Decrypting NIPAH Virus Using Computational Tools

  • Use of bioinformatic tools to study mutations in human sod1 sequence involved in familial amyotropic lateral sclerosis (fALS)

  • A closer look into the genetic aspects of multiple sclerosis

Under the guidance of Dr. Shiney Peter 

  • Utilization of oil-based waste for biosurfactant production

  • Cytotoxicity study of Annonamuricata: An in vitro combinatorial approach

  • Cytotoxicity assessment of synthetic fabric leachates – An in vitro study

  • Protective Potential of Tamarindusindica seeds and Buteamonosperma leaves on cell lines.

  • In vitro cytotoxic effect of Calotropis species extracts on human A549 and HEK 293 cell lines

Under the guidance of Dr. Ira Vashisht

  • Valorization of domestic organic waste- A step towards environment sustainability

  • Semester IV students completed external projects over four months (Dec-Apr) at IIT Mumbai, ACTREC, TIFR, BARC, CIFE, NIRRH, RGCB- Trivandrum, NCBS and DAE-CBS.

Under the guidance of Dr. Karuna Gokarn

  • A four-month (July to October 2018) project titled “Extraction and Bioactivity based studies of Pomegranate Seed Oil” was completed by an M.Sc –II student in the PGDBT, St. Xavier’s College.

  • A one-month internship (1st March to 31st March 2019) on ‘Cloning of siderophore genes’ was completed by a TYBSc Biotechnology student from Amity University, Noida.

 

Research Guidance:

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn was appointed as an Honorary Consultant – Research Scientist in the department of Microbiology at Sir HN Medical Research Centre (Sir HNHRC) and at Sir HN Medical Research Society (Sir HNMRS).

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn received recognition as a Ph.D. guide in Microbiology at Sir HNHRC from the University of Mumbai in April 2019.

 

Research Grant awarded in 2018-2019:

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn received minor research grant of Rs. 35,000/- from the University of Mumbai for the project titled ‘Repurposing of the over-the-counter drugs as antibacterial and anticancer agents’.

 

Student participation in seminars/workshops/conferences:

    • “Advances in Biomedicine”, One day lecture series organized by Indian Women Scientist’s Association (IWSA), Vashi and Caius Research Laboratory, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai on 14th July 2018

    • Lecture on IPR and Career opportunities conducted by Department of Microbiology on 7th July 2018.

  • Training of Trainers workshop on Foldscopein association with The YSS Lab and Dr. Praveen Rahi's Lab at the National Center for Microbial Resources, Pune, India conducted on 1st September 2018

    • Seminar on ‘Career opportunities in Scholarly publication industry’ for PG Biosciences students conducted by Mr. Nikhil Thangiah, Manager, Crimson Interactive Services (alumnus-2012-14) on 20th October 2018.

    • Self Defense Workshop conducted by Mr. Elroy and organized by WDC, St. Xavier’s College on 12th February 2019

    • One-day workshop on Flow Cytometry organized by FlowSols and SIRAC, Somaiya Vidhyavihar on 2nd February 2019.

    • Workshop on “Essentials of Academic Writing” at St. Xavier’s College in collaboration with Cactus Communications, Mumbai held on 6th February 2019

    • International Symposium on Biotechnology and Chemistry innovations for Social Benefits at University of Mumbai held on 9th September 2018.

    • Public Lecture on Persuading Immunity to keep acting against Cancer at TIFR on 28th February 2019

    • Popular science lectures by IWSA and Caius Research Laboratory, St. Xavier’s College on Genome Imprinting by Dr. Nafisa Balasinor, NIRRH on 11th February 2019

    • Interactive session on Epigenetics by Dr. Ritwick Sawarkar, Group Leader Max Plank Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Germany, organized by Department of Life Sciences, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai on 10th January 2019.

    • Lecture on Plant Metabolite engineering by Dr. Prabodh Trivedi, NBRI -Lucknow organized by Department of Botany, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai on 21st February 2019.

    • Interactive Session on Science Rational Thought and Justice in Indian Society conducted by Curiosity Circle, at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai on 8th December 2018

  • Intercollegiate Research Meet ‘Jignyasa’ organized by Department of Biotechnology, SIES College on 21st December 2018.

  • CSIR Sponsored International Conference on Material and Environmental Science" on 7th and 8th December at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. 

  • International Conference: Present Day Biology: A Bastion for Social and Sustainable Development, held at St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat on January 04 - 05, 2019. 

  • Participated in the National Seminar on ‘Fostering Entrepreneurship- Startup as a Stepping Stone’ conducted by St. Xavier’s College on 3rd February 2019. 

  • 31st Research Scholars Meet, organized by Indian Chemical Society in association with School of Chemical Sciences, UM-DAE CEBS, Mumbai, held from 8-9th February 2019.

    • National Seminar entitled ‘Navigating the Social Media in a Responsible Manner’ sponsored by the National Commission on Women (New Delhi), conducted by Women’s Development Cell in St. Xavier’s College on 26th February 2019.

Extension Activities:

  • Quest for Excellence Programme: The department had offered two courses under the BioSciences Hub for UG students across the sciences from St. Xavier’s College. 

  • Bioinformatics Course was conducted by Ms. Norine D’Souza. 21 students across the biological sciences discipline participated and successfully completed the course.

  • Animal Cell Culture Course was conducted by Dr. Shiney Peter. 10 students across the biological sciences discipline participated and successfully completed the course.

  • Dr. Shiney Peter conducted a lecture cum demonstration session on Metastasis and animal cell culture techniques for UG Biosciences students from K J Somaiya College on 25th February 2019.

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza and Dr. Shiney Peter were appointed as examiners for MSc Biotechnology examinations conducted by R. Ruia College (Autonomous), Mumbai.

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza was appointed as an examiner for MSc Biotechnology examinations conducted by Institute of Science and SIES College.

     

     

Dr. Karuna Gokarn

Head, Department of Biotechnology

Additional information